Shakespeare Jahrbuch 2011

Dust jacket image

SHAKESPEARE AND THE CITY

“Thou hast all things in thee to make thee fairest, and all things in thee to make thee foulest” – this is how Thomas Dekker saw London around 1600: as a fascinating and dynamic yet deeply contradictory metropolis. The authors of the articles brought together in this volume analyse such multifaceted views of the city, concentrating specifically on the relationship between urban space and Shakespeare’s theatre. The introductory contribution by Andreas Mahler is devoted to early modern London as a “cultural generator”, focussing in particular on the interaction between the organization of metropolitan space and the particular social make-up of the Inns of Court. Enno Ruge revises widespread assumptions about London’s cultural topography and emphasizes the fact that the southern suburbs did not represent an anarchic periphery of the city but rather stages on which the conflicting interests and interdependencies were fought out – not least those between the puritans and the theatres. Whereas Adam Hansen draws attention to the marginalized city dwellers and their relevance for the early modern city, taking Timon of Athens as an example, Anne-Julia Zwierlein concentrates on gender relations in the city plays and their far-reaching social and metatheatrical implications. Spatial issues are also of crucial relevance for theatre history, as Sarah Dustagheer argues. She sees the Blackfriars Theatre as a space in which the resonances of previous acting companies and their dramatic traditions proved influential. Finally, Ton Hoenselaars engages with Shakespeare’s presence in more recent urban history and discusses the cultural and political implications of the Shakespeare statue erected in Paris in 1888.

Sabine Schülting